Romney's Dilemma

It is hard to know where Mitt Romney looks for a big victory on Tsunami Tuesday. In Georgia and Arkansas, conservative states with plenty of wealthy country club Republicans (Mitt’s base, if you will), Mike Huckabee stands between Romney and victory. Georgia’s rich load of delegates will be awarded proportionately, so even if Romney wins there, he will not get a huge delegate boost. Romney should do better in the Midwestern states of Illinois and Missouri. His biggest win to date was in Michigan, another Midwestern state where conservatives are more likely to be found at the Rotary Club than at the megachurch. And, of course in heavily Mormon Utah, we can expect Romney to dominate. The biggest delegate prizes on Tsunami Tuesday, however, are in the three winner-take-all primaries in the Northeast: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The now defunct campaign of Rudy Giuliani was assumed to have those states locked up. Neither McCain nor Romney fits the mold of the classic northeastern Republican the way Giuliani did. But, Romney has distanced himself very far from the more liberal positions he espoused in order to get elected governor of Massachusetts, and one has a hard time imaging him breaking bread with Nelson Rockefeller or John Lindsay. McCain is no liberal, but his reputation as a maverick should be enough to earn him the huge cache of delegates coming from those three states, and the most recent polls have him leading comfortably in all three. California, then, emerges as the place where Romney must win. There are plenty of arch-conservative Republicans who will find McCain’s positions on campaign finance and immigration reason enough to vote against him. His "can-do" optimism may be a good fit for a state governed by that larger than life incarnation of the American Dream, Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite the fact that the Governator will be endorsing McCain today. Most importantly, in a state with two expensive media markets, a series of negative spots may be just the thing to slow down McCain’s momentum. It is do or die for Romney in California: if CNN puts a checkmark next to McCain’s name on the map of California next Tuesday, the race is over. Michael Sean Winters

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

In this photo taken May 19, 2017, a GPO worker stacks copies of "Analytical Perspectives Budget of the U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2018" onto a pallet at the U.S. Government Publishing Office's (GPO) plant in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The budget’s moral measure will be assessed by “how well it promotes the common good of all,” the bishops write.
Kevin ClarkeMay 22, 2017
A veteran activist provides a blueprint for creating a movement in the moment of Trump.
Nathan SchneiderMay 22, 2017
Given the number of those in the California legal system today who are Latino, “you can guess a large percentage of them are Catholic.”
Jim McDermottMay 22, 2017
Pope Francis waves during a visit to give an Easter blessing to homes in a public housing complex in Ostia, a Rome suburb on the Mediterranean Sea, May 19 (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano).
Vatican leaders seem quietly confident that the meeting will go well.
Gerard O'ConnellMay 22, 2017